Spreading Holiday Cheer: Honoring Employees, Supporting Local, and Giving Grand Gifts!

Alice Ann - Blog Hero Image

At United Bank, supporting local businesses and recognizing our employees are at the heart of our core values. This holiday season, we embarked on a unique endeavor for our annual UB Grand Christmas Party. A highlight of this year’s celebration was the gift given to each attendee, which was inspired by one of United Bank’s employees, Alice Ann Simkins, Accountant and Facility Manager. Alice Ann celebrated her 32ndanniversary at United Bank this year and was instrumental in her family’s journey to becoming a local, NWA business with an international reach.

Peanut Butter balls were a Christmas tradition in the Simkins family. Alice Ann passed down the family recipe and taught her grandsons, Austin and Quinn, how to make the delicious treats.

As the boys were furthering their education at the University of Arkansas, they shared with their parents and grandmother they wanted to start their own company to sell the peanut butter balls. The family appreciated the idea but didn’t take them too seriously at the time.

A couple of months later, they were learning what was needed to make the treats and placing orders for peanuts. They started their business in Alice Ann’s utility room in her home but quickly outgrew the space when they secured an order from their first local grocery store.

As they started shipping their orders locally and beyond, the summer heat proved to be a challenge. They shifted their business model and began using their equipment to make peanut butter instead.

The Natural Way Food Group is now housed in a 9,000 square foot building, employs several people, produces many different nut butter flavors, and is sold throughout the United States.

Xmas Gift ImageEach gift included a jar of Natural Way Peanut Butter, a jar of honey from Honeyton Farms located in Cabot, Arkansas, and a recipe for Peanut Butter & Honey Muffins made using the two locally sourced ingredients. See muffin recipe below.

Attendees enjoyed hearing the story of Alice Ann’s family entrepreneurial journey and were excited to make the delicious muffins as a special treat during the holidays.


Peanut Butter & Honey Muffins Recipe Card

Customers with a UB Grand Checking account are eligible to attend special bank-sponsored activities, events, and parties, such as the annual UB Grand Christmas party, throughout the year. You can learn about the other great benefits of the UB Grand Checking account here.